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By Marizka Coetzer


Former Pretoria midwife to face prosecution over multiple deaths and disabilities

Former Pretoria midwife Yolande Maritz faces prosecution next month over alleged birth complications, sparking community concern.

Former Pretoria midwife Yolande Maritz, who is alleged to have caused multiple deaths and disabilities, will finally face prosecution next month.

The delicensed midwife has been accused of allegedly administering medication to pregnant women which was suspected of causing birth complications.

Barry Bateman, communications manager for AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, said Maritz had been summoned to appear in court on 24 July on assault charges.

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“Carien Möller and Alysia von Kloëg are represented by AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, which has been pressuring the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] to enrol the case.

“For a year and a half, the unit committed itself to supporting Carien and Alysia in their quest for justice and to ensure Maritz is held responsible for her conduct.”

Guilty of negligence

Bateman said Möller and Von Kloëg filed criminal complaints in 2020 and 2022, respectively.

Von Kloëg’s baby died nine days after his birth due to complications and Möller’s daughter was born with cerebral palsy.

“In 2021, Maritz was found guilty of negligent and unprofessional behaviour by the South African Nursing Council which deregistered her as a midwife. She appealed the finding, but it was dismissed,” he said.

Bakeman said the unit started engaging with the NPA in January 2023 after the pair expressed concern about the case’s slow progress and the NPA’s lack of communication.

“The unit is relieved that the matter has been enrolled, but it should not have taken so long.

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“In February this year, when the case had still not been enrolled, the unit informed the NPA that its failure to prosecute timeously provided an opportunity for Maritz to continue with her practice, potentially harming more expectant mothers,” he said.

Dr Angelique Coetzee, a general practitioner, said midwives played a crucial role in supporting women through pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum.

“It is important that midwives realise there are certain risks, especially if it becomes a complicated delivery, and prolonged labour causing foetal distress,” she said.

Coetzee said there were certain risk factors such as maternal age, preexisting conditions that need to be taken into account and a history of previous complications.

“It is important to know if the midwife has the right skills to deal with risk factors. We know they are supposed to do a risk assessment and need to have training in emergency procedures.”

Education important

Coetzee said patient education was also important. “Midwives might have challenges like resource limitations and limited access to advanced medical facilities and equipment.”

She said midwife deliveries had positive results and outcomes and played an essential role in safe deliveries if managed properly.

Forensic criminologist Dr Pixie du Toit said pregnant women and prospective parents should do their homework before choosing a midwife.

“She [Maritz] may not be the only person guilty of practising a profession for which she is not registered,” she said.

Du Toit said it was a good thing that the case would finally be heard in court, even though it had taken so long.

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